Monday, October 5, 2009

Wanna Be a Buyer? Natasha Rich is "Living the Dream"!

Natasha Rich graduated from The Art Institute of Dallas with an Associate of Applied Art in Fashion Design in 2007. she currently works as an Assistant Buyer at Haggar Clothing Co. She sat down for an interview with us. Enjoy!

Why did you choose to pursue a degree in Fashion Design?
I have always LOVED clothes, and reading my favorite magazines… Such as Vogue, WWD, and Harpers Bazaar. They truly inspired me, when I would look and see all of the amazing creations I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Turning your passion into your work, makes a world of difference!

Natasha, you worked in retail for many years prior to graduating from college. Do you recommend that students work while they are in school (in the industry)?
This is a MUST! You always want to be willing to know how things work from beginning to end. From production, all the way down to where it goes in a retail chain. It helps you in the long run to have a better understanding of how things TRULY work! DO IT! No matter what! Even though School is tough and takes up a lot of time, gain the experience! It is essential!

What skills did you learn from your early years of working that you now apply?
All of the little things you need to know that will take you a long way in your career – Trying to learn everything is Crucial. I learned selling techniques, customer base (understanding who your customer truly is) , understand competitive shopping, marketing strategies, markdowns, season changes, following up, always asking questions, constructive criticism… Remember – It is a LEARNING TOOL!

What do your hiring managers look for when evaluating entry-level job candidates?
Passion. Dedication to their future career, eager to learn, great communication and a positive attitude!

During a recession, how can candidates look more desirable to employers who are hesitant to hire anyone?
Minimum starting salary and understanding that entry level is to gain experience… Persistent in following-up with potential employers.

After college, you took another design-relatedbefore the Haggar position came open. What are the pros and cons of design vs. the "business" side?
Personally I really enjoyed both: Working with design really helped me shape a better outlook on how things really happen… From design all the way to production. I am REALLY enjoying buying – I work a lot with numbers and selecting product makes it so much FUN! I guess it depends on your preference!

What are the most challenging tasks in your job?
Time consuming data-entry. You are constantly in 4 seasons, so you are maintaining QUICK change! Right now we are marking down SP09, Rolling out FA09, just bought SP10… Now we are starting to buy FA10. It is FUN – but can be very challenging with all that is put into the change.

What are the most fun parts of your job?
Product Selections, Season colors (Pantones), Trend Forecasting, there is something NEW going on daily – so it never gets old! Also, the marketing and Visual Merchandising, Fast-Paced Environment! I absolutely LOVE my job – I couldn’t be more blessed!

As a buyer, how important are things like organization, time management, and administrative skills?
VERY important! I cannot stress that enough!
· Time Management – Prioritizing, Meeting Deadlines, Dependable
· Organization – Dating Items , Filing Properly for QUICK reference
· Administrative Skills – Follow-Up, Vendor Communication, Double Checking to ensure accuracy

So, your last name is "Rich” - like "Richie Rich." Any relation? Have you been able to capitalize on such a cool name?
Ha-Ha, Not yet… but I hope ONE DAY that the term matches my bank account!

If you had to wear the clothes of only one designer for the rest of your life - including shoes and accessories - whose clothes would you wear?
Definitely Balenciaga! I absolutely adore Nicolas Ghesquière … the sleek silhouettes, pairing high waisted skinny pants with a voluminous blouse, or a tightly cut wool jumpsuit with billowing sleeves. It is simply AMAZING! Need I say more…?

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